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Asmaa was-Sifaat
  General Principles Regarding Allaah's Names
Author: Abu Iyaad as-Salafi
Source: Based upon al-Qawaa'id ul-Muthlaa of Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen
Article ID : AQD030007  [35070]  
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THE THIRD PRINCIPLE: The Names of Allaah can be Transitive or Non-Transitive.

Before we go any further, let us understand what is ‘transitive’ and ‘non-transitive’. This is not difficult to understand, in fact it is very easy. We know that a language consists mainly of verbs and nouns. Nouns are objects, like a table, cat, planet, car, a person. Etc… In school you were probably told that a noun ‘is a place, person, or thing’. As for verbs, then they are ‘doing words’ as you were probably told in school. In other words, verbs represent actions. It is verbs that we will discuss in a bit more detail.

Verbs are of two types.

1. Verbs which require another object to complete the meaning, or to give a meaningful sentence. For example, the verb ‘to meet’. If I want to use this word I must also mention that thing or object which my action relates to. If I said ‘I met’ and then stopped my sentence there, it does not make sense and it does not give a meaningful sentence. I must add something to the end to complete the meaning. For example: ‘I met the Sultan of Brunei’, or ‘I met the local postman’.

2. Verbs which give a complete meaning in themselves. For example ‘to sleep’. If I said ‘I slept’. That’s all I need to say, because to sleep I don’t need another object or thing to do this action.

Can you see the difference? Lets give plenty of examples to illustrate this.

to make - If I said ‘I made’ would that be a complete sentence? No. Because the verb requires another object to complete its meaning. ‘I made apple crumble.’ So in other words, my act of making relates to something else.

to hate - If I said ‘I hate’ would that be complete, meaningful sentence? No. Because the verb requires another object to complete its meaning. ‘I hate that lowly and despised innovating Jahmee, Nuh Ha Mim Keller’. So there must be something that I hate. Again my act of hating, has to be related to something else.

to sleep - If I said ‘I slept’ would that be a meaningful sentence? Yes, because this action does not require another object.

to blush - If I said ‘I blushed’, that is a complete sentence, I don’t need another object to blush.

to reject - If I said ‘I rejected’ and stopped there, that would not be a meaningful and complete sentence. I have to say ‘I rejected the offer’, or ‘I rejected the invitation’ or something like that. In other words there must be something, an object or thing that I reject.

I cried - If I said ‘I cried’ that is a complete sentence, I don’t need another object to complete the sentence.

So by now you should be able to work out which verb is a ‘transitive’ one (i.e it relates to something, an object or thing, and needs it to complete the meaning) and a ‘non-transitive’ one (it does not need anything else and has a complete meaning in itself).

So how does this relate to Allaah’s Names? This is because some of Allaah’s Names are from verbs which are transitive and others which are non-transitive. So the third principle then is:

If a Name of Allaah is transitive then we affirm three things:

1. The Name itself

2. The attribute or quality it gives evidence to

3. How this quality or attribute relates to the creation and its ruling and what it necessitates

And if a Name of Allaah is non-transitive then we only affirm two things:

1. The Name itself

2. The attribute or quality it gives evidence to


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